Thursday, April 8, 2010

Acting class - Shakespearean clown monologue

Yesterday in class I worked on a Shakespearean clown monologue from "The Merchant of Venice."  I was in a performance of this back in 2005.  It was my first NY credit. Off-off broadway kinda of thing.  It was a fun experience.  The actors, for the most part were not douches, and the director/producer was a really nice guy who treated us well and gave us an honorarium at the end of the run.  For those who don't know, and honorarium is basically a severence package.  It's whatever the producer has left over, minus whatever cut he gives himself (and after helping produce a show or two, I will gladly let the producer take whatever the hell he wants to).

So anyway....The actor who played Lancelot Gobbo in my production  was really effing good at what he did, and still is!  So I tried to fashion what I did after what he did.

It's a really hard monologue, you have to portray the role of Lancelot first, but also the fiend and  Lancelot's conscience.  So that's three roles battling against each other in one piece.  The monologue begs for the actor to have fun and "gameplay/roleplay".  Which I love. There is also a lot of moments of: importance, discovery, confidentiality, places to find the fun parts etc.  Along with the gameplay/roleplay comes the opportunity to switch up speech patterns even more so than what is normally done.  The rate, the inflection, the pitch, the dynamic.   I need to work more on the following for this monologue: specific placement of the fiend and conscience.  Although the location of the fiend is supported within the text "The fiend is at mine elbow" Here is the monologue:

Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew my master. The fiend is at mine elbow and tempts me, saying to me, 'Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot,' or 'good Gobbo,' or 'good Launcelot Gobbo -- use your legs, take the start, run away.' My conscience says, 'No. Take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo,' or as aforesaid, 'honest Launcelot Gobbo -- do not run; scorn running with thy heels.' Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack. 'Fia!' says the fiend; 'away!' says the fiend. 'For the heavens, rouse up a brave mind,' says the fiend, 'and run.' Well, my conscience hanging about the neck of my heart says very wisely to me, 'My honest friend Launcelot, being an honest man's son' -- or rather 'an honest woman's son,' for indeed my father did something smack, something grow to; he had a kind of taste -- Well, my conscience says, 'Launcelot, budge not.' 'Budge,' says the fiend. 'Budge not,' says my conscience. 'Conscience,' say I, 'you counsel well.' 'Fiend,' say I, 'you counsel well.' To be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master who, God bless the mark, is a kind of devil; and to run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend who, saving your reverence, is the devil himself. Certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnation; And in my conscience, my conscience is but a kind of hard conscience to offer to counsel me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more friendly counsel. I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment; I will run.

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